Meet Nick Ryan!

Danny Stock

As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Nick Ryan!

Read the Q&A below to learn more about Nick.

Primary Role: High School studio arts teacher, primarily sculpture and ceramics
Pronouns: He/Him
Years at GDS: As of publication, 21 years down and halfway along year 22! 

What do you love about GDS?
It varies day to day, but ultimately it's the students at any school that make it a worthwhile profession.

Nick and Nevada Lomax '20 discuss embellishments to the sidewall of her ceramic bowl. (pre-pandemic)

Why do you teach?
I teach because it offers me the greatest sense of accomplishment. Students present unique challenges and the variety keeps me engaged in my practice; the students inspire me with their potential and creative energy. 

A favorite lesson to teach or favorite part of your job?
My favorite lesson is the teapot—it is also the most challenging. The teapot is the culminating assignment for ceramics students because of the complexity and function. Helping students bring all the parts together successfully is rewarding.

Your teaching or work style in three words?
Everyone is different.

A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
To enjoy the rewards of the creative process.

Personal passions/hobbies/pastimes?
Gardening and playing with nature makes me happy. Other pastimes: biking and hiking.

Nick demonstrates how to lift the walls of a bowl while Emily Perelman '21 observes. (pre-pandemic)

Favorite movies?
I have two favorite movies: To Kill a Mockingbird and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

A note about family?
I am very proud of my parents. I think they did an outstanding job raising us in turbulent times. I am forever grateful they never left us behind, always made us feel important, and instilled values that guide my life to this day. I lost my mother at age 63 and that loss instilled in me the preciousness of time. My father turned 98 this month and his determination to work, live, and ski inspires me to keep going. 

One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and with my brother's guidance I successfully petitioned the selective service for that classification. My draft number was 53. I viewed it as a matter of life and death even though Henry Kissinger assured us “Peace is at hand.”*

Nick asking a question during a Social Justice Teach-In Day workshop facilitated by senior Brock Davis and junior Bryan Chapman.

One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
I have lived a good life and feel very lucky to have been born when I was. So my life has filled my bucket and I have few regrets.

One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
I've never married anyone I loved; I wonder what that's like.

With a tip from Nick, we reached out to hear what a colleague had to say...
Art teacher and chair of the High School studio arts department Michelle Cobb said: “Nick Ryan has spent 21 years at GDS building and helping to define the foundation and mission of the art department. I credit him and his unwavering support for helping me really develop my practice as well as my leadership skills. Nick is a master teacher, dedicated to supporting and challenging his students to find their voice and develop their passion. His love of teaching and commitment to excellence is evident in his students’ work and his immense contributions to the development of our program.

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